« AnteriorContinuar »
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, and happy, for the weeding out of Popery, withOF ADVICE CONCERNING IRELAND, FROM GOR-out using the temporal sword; so that I think I
HAMBURY TO WINDSOR.
Because I am uncertain whether his majesty will put to a point some resolutions touching Ireland, now at Windsor: I thought it my duty to attend his majesty by my letter, and thereby to supply my absence, for the renewing of some former commissions for Ireland, and the framing of a new commission for the wards, and the alienations, which appertain properly to me, as his majesty's attorney, and have been accordingly referred by the lords, I will undertake that they are prepared with a greater care, and better application to his majesty's service, in that kingdom, than heretofore they have been; and therefore of that I say no more. And for the instructions of the new deputy, they have been set down by the two secretaries, and read to the board, and being things of an ordinary nature, I do not see but they may pass. But there have been three propositions and councils which have been stirred, which seem to me of very great importance, wherein I think myself bound to deliver to his majesty my advice, and opinion, if they should now come in question. The first is touching the recusant magistrates of the towns of Ireland, and the commonalties themselves, and their electors, what shall be done; which consultation ariseth from the late advertisements from the two lord justices, upon the instance of the two towns, Limerick and Kilkenny; in which advertisements, they represent the danger only without giving any light for the remedy, rather warily for themselves, than agreeable to their duties and places. In this point, I humbly pray his majesty to remember, that the refusal is not of the oath of allegiance, (which is not exacted in Ireland,) but of the oath of supremacy, which cutteth deeper into matter of conscience.
Also that his majesty, will out of the depth of his excellent wisdom and providence, think, and as it were calculate with himself, whether time will make more for the cause of religion in Ireland, and be still more and more propitious, or whether differing remedies will not make the case more difficult. For if time give his majesty the advantage, what needeth precipitation of extreme remedies; but if the time will make the case more desperate, then his majesty cannot begin too soon. Now, in my opinion, time will open and facilitate things for reformation of religion there, and not shut up or lock out the same. For, first, the plantations going on, and being principally of Protestants, cannot but mate the other party in time.
Also his majesty's care in placing good bishops, and good divines; in amplifying the college there, and looking to the education of wards, and such like; as they are the most natural means, so are they like to be the most effectual
may truly conclude, that the ripeness of time is not yet come.
Therefore my advice is, in all humbleness, that this hazardous course of proceeding to tender the oath to the magistrates of towns, proceed not, but die by degrees. And yet to preserve the authority and reputation of the former council, I would have somewhat done, which is, that there be a proceeding to seizure of liberties, but not by any act of power, but by "quo warranto," or "scire facias," which is a legal course, and will be the work of three or four terms; by which time the matter will be somewhat cool.
But I would not (in no case) that the proceeding should be with both the towns which stand now in contempt, but with one of them only, choosing that which shall be most fit. For, if his majesty proceed with both, then all the towns that are in the like case will think it a common cause, and that it is but their case to-day, and their own to-morrow. But if his majesty proceed but with one, the apprehension and terror will not be so strong; for, they may think, it may be their case to be spared, as well as prosecuted. And this is the best advice that I can give to his majesty, in this strait; and of this opinion seemed my lord chancellor to be.
The second proposition is this, it may be, his majesty will be moved to reduce the number of his council of Ireland (which is now almost fifty) to twenty, or the like number, in respect that the greatness of the number doth both imbase the authority of the council, and divulge the business. Nevertheless, I hold this proposition to be rather specious, and solemn, than needful at this time; for certainly it will fill the state full of discontentment, which, in a growing and unsettled state, ought not to be. This I could wish, that his majesty would appoint a select number of counsellors there, which might deal in the improvement of his revenue, (being a thing not to pass through too many hands;) and the said selected number should have days of sitting by themselves, at which the rest of the council should not be present; which being once settled, then other principal business of state may be handled at these sittings; and so the rest begin to be disused, and yet retain their countenance, without murmur, or disgrace.
The third proposition, as it is moved, seemeth to be pretty, if it can keep promise; for it is this, that a means may be found to reinforce his majesty's army by five hundred, or a thousand men, and that without any penny increase of charge. And the means should be, that there should be a commandment of a local removing, and transferring some companies from one province to another, whereupon it is supposed, that many that are planted in house and lands, will rather lose their
entertainment, than remove; and thereby new men may have their pay, yet, the old be mingled in the country, for the strength thereof. In this proposition two things may be feared; the one, discontent of those that shall be put off; the other, that the companies should be stuffed with novices, (tirones) instead of "veterani." I wish, therefore, that this proposition be well debated, before it be admitted. Thus having performed that which duty binds me to, I commend you to God's best preservation.
Your most devoted and bounden servant. July 5, 1616.
chiefest worldly comfort is, to think, that since the time I had the first vote of the Lower House of Parliament for commissioner of the union; until the time that I was this Parliament chosen by both Houses, for their messenger to your majesty in the petition of religion, (which two, were my first and last services,) I was evermore so happy, as to have my poor services graciously accepted by your majesty, and likewise not to have had any of them miscarry in my hands. Neither of which points I can any ways take to myself, but ascribe the former to your majesty's goodness, and the latter to your prudent directions, which I was ever careful to have, and keep. For, as I have often said to your majesty, I was
SIR FRANCIS BACON, TO THE EARL OF NORTHUM- towards you but as a bucket, and a cistern to
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I would not have lost this journey; and yet, I have not that I went for: for I have had no private conference to purpose with the king, no more hath almost any other English; for the speech of his majesty admitteth with some nobleman, is rather matter of grace, than matter of business: with the attorney he spake, urged by the Treasurer of Scotland, but no more than needs must. After I had received his majesty's first welcome, and was promised private access, yet, not knowing what matter of service your lordship's letter carried, for I saw it not, and knowing that primeness in advertisement is much, I chose rather to deliver it to Sir Thomas Hoskins, than to let it cool in my hands, upon expectation of access. Your lordship shall find a prince the farthest from vainglory that may be, and rather like a prince of the ancient form than of the latter time; his speeches swift and cursory, and in the full dialect of his nation, and in speech of business short, in speech of discourse large; he affecteth popularity by gracing them that are popular, and not by any fashions of his own; he is thought somewhat general in his favours; and his virtue of access is rather because he is much abroad, and in press, than he giveth easy audience: he hasteneth to a mixture of both kingdoms and nations, faster perhaps than policy will well bear. I told your lordship once before my opinion, that methought his majesty rather asked counsel of the time past, than of the time to come. But it is yet early to ground any settled opinion. For other particularities I refer to conference, having in these generals gone farther in these tender arguments than I would have done, were not the bearer hereof so assured. So I continue your, etc.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, In the midst of my misery, which is rather assuaged by remembrance, than by hope, my
draw forth, and conserve, and yourself was the fountain. Unto this comfort of nineteen years' prosperity, there succeeded a comfort even in my greatest adversity, somewhat of the same nature, which is, that in those offences wherewith I was charged, there was not any one that had special relation to your majesty, or any your particular commandments. For, as towards Almighty God, there are offences against the first and second table, and yet all against God; so with the servants of kings, there are offences more immediate against the sovereign, although all offences against law are also against the king. Unto which comfort there is added this circumstance, that as my faults were not against your majesty otherwise than as all faults are, so my fall is not your majesty's act, otherwise than as all acts of justice are yours. This I write not to insinuate with your majesty, but as a most humble appeal to your majesty's gracious remembrance, how honest and direct you have ever found me in your service, whereby I have an assured belief, that there is in your majesty's princely thoughts, a great deal of serenity and clearness to me, your majesty's now prostrate, and cast down servant.
Neither (my most gracious sovereign) do I, by this mentioning of my services, lay claim to your princely grace and bounty, though the privilege of calamity do bear that form of petition. I know well, had they been much more, they had been but my bounden duty; nay, I must also confess, that they were, from time to time, far above my merit, super-rewarded by your majesty's benefits, which you heaped upon me. Your majesty was, and is, that man to me, that raised and advanced me nine times, thrice in dignity, and six times in office. The places indeed were the painfullest of all your service, but then they had both honour and profit, and the then profits might have main tained my now honour, if I had been wise. Neither was your majesty's immediate liberality wanting towards me, in some gifts, if I may hold them. All this I do most thankfully acknowledge, and do herewith conclude, that for any thing arising from myself, to move your eye of pity
And, indeed, if it may please your majesty, this theme of my misery is so plentiful, as it need not be coupled with any thing else. I have been somebody, by your majesty's singular and undeserved favour, even the prime officer of your kingdom. Your majesty's arm hath been often over mine in council, when you presided at the table, so near I was. I have borne your majesty's image in metal, much more in heart. I was never, in nineteen years' service, chidden by your majesty, but, contrariwise, often overjoyed, when your majesty would sometimes say; "I was a good husband for you, though none for myself;" sometimes, "That I had a way to deal in business, 'suavibus modis,' which was the way which was most according to your own heart;" and other most gracious speeches of affection and trust, which I feed on till this day. But why should I speak of these things, which are now vanished, but only the better to express my downfall.
towards me, there is much more in my present | which your sacred hand hath been so oft for new misery than in my past services; save that the ornaments and additions. Unto this degree of same your majesty's goodness, that may give | compassion, I hope God above (of whose mercy relief to the one, may give value to the other. towards me, both in my prosperity, and adversity, I have had great testimonies and pledges, though mine own manifold and wretched unthankfulness might have averted them) will dispose your princely heart, already prepared to all piety. And why should I not think, but that thrice noble prince, who would have pulled me out of the fire of a sentence, will help to pull me (if I may use that homely phrase) out of the mire of an abject and sordid condition in my last days? And that excellent favourite of yours (the goodness of whose nature contendeth with the greatness of his fortune, and who counteth it a prize, a second prize, to be a good friend, after that prize which he carrieth to be a good servant) will kiss your hands with joy, for any work of piety you shall do for me? And as all commiserating persons (specially such as find their hearts void of malice) are apt to think, that all men pity them; I assure myself, that the lords of the council (who out of their wisdom and nobleness cannot but be sensible For now it is thus with me; I am a year and a of human events) will, in this way which I go half old in misery, though (I must ever acknow- for the relief of my estate, further and advance ledge) not without some mixture of your majesty's your majesty's goodness towards me. For there grace and mercy. For I do not think it possible, is a kind of fraternity between great men that are, that any you once loved should be totally mise- and those that have been, being but the several rable. My own means, through mine own impro- tenses of one verb; nay, I do farther presume, vidence, are poor and weak, little better than my that both Houses of Parliament will love their father left me. The poor things which I have justice the better if it end not in my ruin. For I had from your majesty, are either in question, or have been often told by many of my lords, (as it at courtesy: my dignities remain marks of your were, in excusing the severity of the sentence,) past favour, but yet burdens withal of my present that they knew they left me in good hands. And fortune. The poor remnants which I had of my your majesty knoweth well, I have been all my former fortunes, in plate or jewels, I have spread life long acceptable to those assemblies, not by upon poor men, unto whom I owed, scarce leaving flattery, but by moderation, and by honest expressmyself bread. So as, to conclude, I must pouring of a desire to have all things go fairly and out my misery before your majesty, so far as to say, "Si deseris tu, perimus."
But as I can offer to your majesty's compassion, little arising from myself to move you, except it be my extreme misery, which I have truly laid open; so looking up to your majesty yourself, I should think I committed Cain's fault, if I should despair: your majesty is a king, whose heart is as unscrutable, for secret motions of goodness, as for depth of wisdom. You are creator-like, factive, and not destructive; you are a prince in whom I have ever noted an aversion against any thing that savoured of a hard heart; as, on the other side, your princely eye was wont to meet with any motion that was made on the relieving part. Therefore, as one that hath had happiness to know your majesty near hand I have (most gracious sovereign) faith enough for a miracle, much more for a grace: that your majesty will not suffer your poor creature to be utterly defaced, nor blot that name quite out of your book, upon VOL. III.-3
But (if it may please your majesty) for saints, I shall give them reverence, but no adoration. My address is to your majesty, the fountain of goodness: your majesty shall, by the grace of God, not feel that in gift, which I shall extremely feel in help; for my desires are moderate, and my courses measured to a life orderly and reserved; hoping still to do your majesty honour in my way. Only I most humbly beseech your majesty, to give me leave to conclude with those words which necessity speaketh; help me, dear sovereign lord and master, and pity me so far, as I, that have borne a bag, be not now, in my age, forced in effect, to bear a wallet; nor I, that desire to live to study, may not be driven to study to live. I most humbly crave pardon of a long letter, after a long silence. God of heaven ever bless, preserve, and prosper your majesty.
Your majesty's poor ancient servan ;and beadsman, FR. ST. ALBAN.
SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY, RETURNED WITH POSTILS, OF THE KING'S OWN HAND.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
Your majesty hath put upon me a work of providence in this great cause, which is to break and distinguish future events into present cases, and so present them to your royal judgment, that in this action, which hath been carried with so great prudence, justice, and clemency, there may be (for that which remaineth) as little surprise as is possible, but that things duly foreseen may have their remedies and directions in readiness; wherein I cannot forget what the poet Martial saith; "O! quantum est subitis cassibus ingenium!" signifying, that accident is many times more subtle than foresight, and overreacheth expectation: and, besides, I know very well the meanness of my own judgment, in comprehending or forecasting what may follow.
It was your majesty's pleasure also, that I should couple the suppositions with my opinion in every of them, which is a harder task; but yet your majesty's commandment requireth my obedience, and your trust giveth me assurance.
I will put the case which I wish; that Somerset should make a clear confession of his offences, before he be produced to
In this case, it seemeth your majesty will have a new consult. The points whereof will be (1) Whether your majesty will stay the trial, and so save them both from the stage, and that public ignominy. Or (2) Whether you will (or may fitly by law) have the trial proceed, and stay or reprieve the judgment, which saveth the lands from forfeiture, and the blood from corruption. Or (3) Whether you will have both trial and judgment proceed, and save the blood only, not from corrupting, but from
REX. I say with Apollo, "Media tutius itur," if it may stand with law; and if it cannot, when I shall hear that he con- spilling.
fesseth, I am
to make choice
of the first, or the last.
These be the depths of your majesty's mercy which I may not enter into; but for honour and reputation, they have these grounds:
That the blood of Overbury is
Secondly, That your majesty, in your own wisdom, do advise what course you will take, for the utter extinguishing of all hope of resuscitating of their fortunes and favour; whereof if there should be the least conceit, it will leave in men a great deal of envy and discontent.
And, lastly, Whether your majesty will not suffer it to be thought abroad, that there is a cause of farther examination of Somerset, concerning matters of estate, after he shall begin once to be a confessant; and so make as well a politic ground, as a ground of clemency, for farther stay.
And for the second degree of proceeding to trial, and staying judgment, I must better inform myself by precedents, and advise with my lord chancellor.
The second In this case, first, I suppose case is, if that your majesty will not think of fall out which is any stay of judgment, but that likest (as things the public process of justice stand, and which pass on. weexpect) which is, that the lady confess and that Somerset himself plead not guilty, and be found guilty. REX. If stay of judgment can stand with the
Secondly, for your mercy to be extended to both, for pardon of their execution, I have partly touched, in the considerations applied to the former case; whereunto may be added, that as there is ground of mercy for her, upon her peni tency and free confession, and will be much more upon his
law, I would even wish it in this case; in all the rest this article cannot be mended.
REX. That dan
ger is well to
finding guilty, because the malice on his part will be thought the deeper source of the offence; so there will be ground for mercy, on his part, upon the nature of the proof, because it rests chiefly upon presumptions. For, certainly, there may be an evidence so balanced, as it may have sufficient matter for the conscience of the peers to convict him, and yet leave sufficient matter in the conscience of a king, upon the same evidence, to pardon his life; because the peers are astringed by necessity, either to acquit or condemn; but grace is free. And
be very sorry should happen; but, it is a future contingent, that is, if the peers should acquit him, and find him not guilty.
REX. This is so
seen (as I conceive it) that there should be any rejecting of the verdict, or any respiting of the judgment of the acquittal; so, on the other side, this case requireth, that because there be many high and henious offences (though not capital,) for which he may be questioned in the Star Chamber, or otherwise, that there be some touch of that in general, at the conclusion, by my Lord Steward of England. And, that, therefore, he be remanded to the Tower, as close prisoner.
For matter of examination, or other proceedfor my part, I think the evi-ings, my lord chancellor, with my advice, hath
dence in this present case will be of such a nature.
Thirdly, It shall be my care so to moderate the manner of charging him, as it might make him not odious beyond the extent of mercy.
Lastly, all these points of mercy and favour, are to be
be foreseen, understood with this limitalest he upon tion, if he do not, by his conthe one part temptuous and insolent carcommit unpar- riage at the bar, make himself donable errors, incapable and unworthy of
and I on the them.
In this case, I should think fit, that, as in public, both myself and chiefly my lord chancellor, (sitting then as Lord Steward of England) should dehort and deter him from that desperation; so, nevertheless,
To-morrow, being Monday, for the re-examination of the lady.
Wednesday next, for the meeting of the judges, concerning the evidence.
Thursday, for the examination of Somerset himself, according to your majesty's instructions.
Which three parts, when they shall be performed, I will give your majesty advertisement with speed, and in the mean time be glad to receive from your majesty (whom it is my part to inform truly) such directions, or significations of your pleasure, as this advertisement may induce, and that with speed, because the time Well remembering who is the person, whom your majesty admitted to this secret; I have sent this letter open unto him, that he may take your majesty's times to report it, or show it unto you, assuring myself that nothing is more firm than his trust, tried to your majesty's commandments;
Your majesty's most humble and most bounden subject and servant.
April 28, 1616.
that as much should be done SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY
for him, as was done for Weston, which was to adjourn the court for some days, upon a Christian ground, that he may have time to turn from that mind of destroying himself; during which time your majesty's farther pleasure may be known.
The fourth In this case, the lord stewis, that, ard must be provided what to which I should do. For, as it hath been never
GENERAL, TO THE MASTER OF THE HORSE, UPON THE SENDING OF HIS BILL FOR VISCOUNT, SC.
I send you the bill for his majesty's signature, reformed according to his majesty's amendments, both in the two places (which I assure you, were altered with great judgment) and in the third place, which his majesty termed a question only. But he is an idle body, that thinketh his majesty asketh an idle question; and therefore his majesty's questions are to be answered, by taking away the cause of the question, and not by replying.